Bloomberg News

Lilly’s Bydureon Diabetes Drug Recommended by U.K. Cost Agency

October 17, 2011

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Eli Lilly & Co.’s Bydureon diabetes drug was approved by the U.K.’s health-cost agency for use in combination with two glucose-lowering medicines.

Bydureon can be used with metformin and a sulphonylurea, or metformin and a thiazolidinedione, when control of blood sugar is inadequate, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said in a statement today. Lilly, whose top-selling schizophrenia drug Zyprexa loses U.S. patent protection this month, is seeking clearance to sell Bydureon in the U.S.

The Lilly drug can be used in combination with one other therapy only when a patient can’t take other medicines, said the agency, known as NICE, which advises the National Health Service on whether drugs provide value for money. Bydureon is a longer- acting version of the twice-daily diabetes injection Byetta.

The agency’s decision is preliminary. NICE will review comments from the company, health providers and the public and probably will issue a final decision in February, according to the statement.

Bydureon costs 73.36 pounds ($115.56) for a pack of four doses, NICE said.

Byetta, a synthetic version of a substance found in the saliva of the Gila monster, stimulates pancreas cells to produce the hormone insulin when blood sugar is high.

Lilly, based in Indianapolis, markets Byetta outside the U.S. and co-markets it with San Diego-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. in the U.S. The drug was developed by Amylin, and the technology enabling it to be used in a longer- acting form was developed by Waltham, Massachusetts-based Alkermes Inc.

--Editors: Bruce Rule, Angela Zimm

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Serafino in Paris at pserafino@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net


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